Air Transport of Hazardous Materials

Monday, November 27th, 2017

Where Dangers Lurk for Owners, Operators and Their Pilots and Crews

Transporting hazardous materials can be dangerous. Every pilot understands that.

The regulations and guidelines for transportation of hazardous materials by air are covered under 49 CFR, which falls under the Department of Transportation. However, the FAA, under its broad statutory authority to regulate aviation safety, includes specific hazardous materials training requirements for FAR Part 135 and 121 operators. These training requirements for flight crew and ground personnel, governed by FAR 135 Subpart K and FAR 121 Appendix O, are designed to prevent either packages improperly offered for shipment as hazardous materials, or packages that contain undeclared hazardous material shipments, which indicate the presence of hazardous materials, from being loaded on aircraft that may cause catastrophic damage to the aircraft and even death.

air transport of hazardous materials - fedex

All hazardous materials must be properly labeled, packaged and stored, be recognized by pilots and require special handling. Will Carry operators are audited annually to ensure they follow proper acceptance, loading and documentation. Pilots can be ramp checked for proper loading of hazardous materials. Will Not Carry operators and pilots, although not transporting hazardous materials, must still be able to recognize hazardous materials, packaging, and labels to ensure they are not loaded on company aircraft. All of this requires good training programs.

Failure to complete the required training can result in substantial fines, certificate action, personal injury, and aircraft damage.

Typically, problems arise from materials that people don’t know about, or those camouflaged by generic packaging. The only way to understand how to look for these sorts of problematic materials is through training.

Some of the issues that we’ve seen come from:

  • Paint – Certain paint products have a chemical reaction at certain altitudes that can produce toxic fumes that affect humans.
  • Lithium batteries – These carry a risk of spontaneous fires. In 2010, UPS Airlines Flight 6 crashed in Dubai, a crash caused by an in-flight fire started from lithium batteries. The smoke from the fire overwhelmed the crew which caused the plane to crash.
  • Dry ice High concentrations of odorless dry ice in confined spaces such as airplanes can lead to breathing problems or even suffocation of pilots and passengers.

For FAR 135 and 121 operations, regulations require Will or Will Not Carry Hazardous Materials training to be conducted at least every 24 months.

TrainingBoom takes hazardous materials training seriously and is on the forefront of training for this challenge. Our extensive knowledge of hazardous materials derives from our long careers at FedEx, one of the largest carriers of hazardous materials in the world. We include it in all of our FAR Part 135 and Part 121 initial and recurrent training.

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